OK, how to encourage strawberries to runner is a common question, but I am having the opposite issue, too many runners. I planted a new bed last year, and with first year plants I would generally prefer to allow no runners. As these seemed especially health and nice plants, I though I would allow 1 or 2 from the lager plants and do the normal pinch/cut for the rest. I was trying to do so an a weekly basis, but these plants were out of control. I have plants that last year I cut 50+ runners from and still ended up with 20+ children from. Some even did crown splits into 3-5 plants on top of send out scores of runners.

This is something some would consider a nice problem, but I live with very harsh winters so really want solid plants. I likely lost about 1/3 of my plants to winter kill, I assume in part because too much energy went to reproduction and dividing. I had put in 25 plants each of 3 varieties, and now, even with the losses, I had to transplant about 250 plants to new beds, and have at least that many in the bed where I planted 75. This is after I cut runners all year last year. Now, this year, they are barely leafed out, maybe 10% have started to put on blooms, and I am already cutting new runners.

So, my question, is there a way to discourage runners before I need to pinch/cut? Is this possibly a sign of nutrient imbalance that I need to correct? The issue was most extreme with one of the three varieties, so it seems to be just an especially proficient variety. For good, fresh quality fruit the constant snipping is something that can be lived with, but I have tones of other plants to care for, so I am very open for ideas, so if someone can say, hey give them a does of dandelion pollen extract (just to make something up) and they will back off, I would love to hear such ideas.

  • strawberry runners can be used to start new plants, all you need to do is bury it again in some dirt a little ways away, and soon you'll have a field. Commented May 28, 2019 at 15:18
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    @blackthumb That is not the issue. I turned 75 into 500+ in one year even with removing as many runners as I had time to do. I want them to not massively reproduce so I can have stronger, healthier plants by wasting all their energy on new plants instead of themselves and fruit. I want only enough runners to maintain or slow controlled growth without having to constantly remove runners which is still a waste of energy for the parent plant. Constant multiplying, especially with young plants produces weak plants, over-crowding and small fruit.
    – dlb
    Commented May 28, 2019 at 17:06
  • some species create a lot of runners. Commented May 28, 2019 at 17:34

1 Answer 1


I agree that if you don't want runners look for the types that don't produce as many. I think Ozarks don't put out as many as some others. I still have plenty enough either way.

Not saying where you are located makes it hard to give better information. When I lose strawberry plants it is because of a few issues. Either the plants have not had enough time to get established before winter so they can get frost heaved out of the ground or the winter is pretty dry and the plants get freeze dried. That still does not matter much here. I live in Mid-Michigan and the winter does get cold enough to freeze the ground solid. You can help strawberry plants survive the winter by letting the cold weather come along and get the ground cold and then lightly mulch them (not a deep mulch over them, just enough to give them some cover but not enough to smother them). They will do just fine. In the spring you can rake some of the mulch off if you want. I leave it alone and the strawberries just grow through it.

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